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Disarmament

Subcomittee of the General Assembly

You are viewing a version of this page from a past conference. Did you want to take a look at the chair letter for the upcoming Hilton 2014 conference?

This committee will be run Harvard style, which means that delegates will put together resolutions during committee. However, in order to be considered for an award, delegates must have at least one position paper ready to turn in at the beginning of the first day of committee. Position papers will also be accepted by e-mail prior to the conference.

Delegates are expected to be well researched on the topics in general as well as the policies of the nations they represent with respect to those topics. Above all, keep in mind that the purpose of Model UN is to work together—not against each other—in an informed, practical, and enjoyable manner. Good luck researching!

Chairs

George Liu

My name is George Liu, and this will be my second year chairing. I am a senior at Pittsford Sutherland High School, and my interests vary from chess to tennis to writing. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have at georgeliu22@yahoo.com.

Namita Sarraf

Hi, my name is Namita Sarraf, and I will be one of your chairs for SHC. This is my third time chairing and fourth year in Model UN. I am a senior at Pittsford Sutherland High School, and my pursuits include dance, music, and our literary magazine.

Topics

Cluster Munitions

The problem of cluster munitions encompasses the broader theme of disarmament: how do nations fight a war while limiting harm to citizens? Cluster munitions, or packets of explosives that disseminate upon impact, are a special challenge in that they are still used by major nations in combat. If not exploded, these tiny grenades act as landmines, killing civilians long after war has ended.

Over a hundred countries have agreed on a need to ban cluster munitions. On the other hand, the United States in particular has argued for their continued use as a safer alternative to unitary explosives, since they in fact produce a lower rate of casualties.

Are cluster munitions a concern that needs to be addressed? Are they an acceptable mode of weaponry? Do their dangers truly overshadow those of other explosives, as some say they do?

 

Espionage

The problem of espionage has stood as a serious threat especially since World Wars I and II. It has entangled relations between nations, creating mistrust even during times of peace. Never more dramatic were the influences of espionage than during the Cold War, when spies enflamed politics to near war.

Even so, espionage constitutes an essential part for finding and disarming illegal weapons. Just as U2 spy planes discovered Soviet missiles in Cuba during the Kennedy Administration, nations today engage in such methods of “intelligence” to inspect foreign states. If ever nuclear weapons were constructed in secret, espionage would be essential for disarming them; yet espionage is still a major antagonizing factor between nations.

What determines the legality of espionage in regards to enforcing disarmament protocol? To what limit, if any, should espionage be controlled? Does the UN have rights to use espionage if countries, even members, do not?

 

Arms Race in Space

The launching of Sputnik was only the beginning of a long history of space race. What once involved satellites, long-range missiles, and Ronald Reagan’s far-fetched Star Wars now has the potential to involve atomic and nuclear weapons.

In a controversial move in 2007, China destroyed one of its own satellites, raising questions about a possible arms race in space. In 2008, Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov introduced a draft-treaty to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, in conjunction with China that would ban weapons in space; the United States was quick to object. However, a year later, President Obama pledged to seek a global ban on weapons in space.

Also in 2009, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs published in its yearbook a resolution intending to prevent the arms race in space. It urged nations to follow guidelines set down by the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies; it also, however, provided as an operative clause the provision that the Conference on Disarmament would, in its 2010 session, further explore the issue.

While mutual agreement on the necessity for a demilitarized space is easy to come by, a solid set of guidelines is not. It is essential that rules be set down to prevent the possibility of an arms race in space.

The gray areas of the issue must be defined—for example, are satellites weapons? When do they become potentially harmful rather than defensive or informational?

 

Small Arms Disarmament in African Nations

In African nations like Sierra Leone, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ivory Coast, civil war has become a natural part of life. The presence of light weapons is both a result and instigator of the perpetual conflicts. That nearly every citizen in, for example, Sudan, owns a gun is not only disturbing, but also dangerous.

The violence is widespread throughout western and central Africa, and disarmament is necessary. In Sudan, the southern government has put into place a campaign where citizens who do not disarm must give up their livestock. However, small arms are difficult to trace and easy to distribute; they contribute heavily to the high death rates plaguing war-torn African nations.

How can the UN go about contributing to small arms disarmament without infringing on national sovereignty or undermining the government, especially in areas with unstable governments? How can the UN bring about popular support for such a program?

 

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